From Publishers Weekly
Stein, a mathematics professor at California State University, explores the application of math to problem solving in the everyday, explaining tricky concepts and developing elegant algorithms for everything from scheduling auto repair to organizing a closet. He also demonstrates the power of the solution: "We advance, both as individuals and as a species, by solving problems. As a rule of thumb, the reward for solving problems increases with the difficulty." Stein blends math history and complex theories with jokes in a seamless manner while looking into everything from quantum mechanics to voting, while still realizing the limitations of his field-"without experiments and measurement these tools mathetmatics are essentially useless"-and its more whimsical possibilities: "We do not yet have the mathematical objects needed to discuss art, or beauty, or love; but that does not mean that they do not exist." Stein's work, mathematically rigorous but with minimal equations, will appeal to both casual and serious fans of math or physics, as well as those who take keen interest in problem solving.
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About the Author
James D. Stein is a professor of mathematics at California State University, Long Beach. A graduate of Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, he lives in Redondo Beach, California.